A Hummingbird Above a Rose

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Category: English Composition

Date Submitted: 11/29/2012 02:58 AM

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Trevor Smith

Professor Welch

English 101

20 September 2012

A Hummingbird Above a Rose

What is the driving force that motivates us to find our passion? How is it that we find ourselves and what we want to do for the rest of our lives? These conclusions are hard to come to and are essentially a culmination of all our experiences. For many individuals, it is a series of hardships and challenges in one form or another that contribute most to finding their passion. Everyone has a personal story of struggle in their lives, and the importance of those personal burdens is what you take away from the experience and how you respond to the struggle. There is a natural affinity that society has to stories that overcome adversity and triumph when all seems lost. Jimmy Santiago Baca’s essay “Coming into Language”, uses overarching repetition, incredibly powerful imagery, and the emphasis of hardship in order to express the arduous and dark journey he took to self-education, self-discovery, and overcoming adversity.

“Coming into Language” starts with a young man working at a hospital in graveyard shifts mopping blood and carrying limbs to an incinerator. He is completely illiterate and goes to jail twice; once at eighteen and once again at the age of twenty. He discovered his passion for reading and writing when he heard other prisoners reading the works of legendary writers such as Hemingway, and so began doing anything he could to get his hands on literature:

With shocking speed I found myself hand-cuffed to a chain gang of inmates and bused to a holding facility to await trial. There I met men, prisoners, who read aloud to each other the works of Neruda, Paz, Sabines, Nemerov, and Hemingway. Never had I felt such freedom as in that dormitory. Listening to the words of these writers, I felt that invisible threat from without lessen-my sense on a rotting plank over swamp water where famished alligators clapped their horny snouts for my blood (53).